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Latest revision as of 22:52, April 16, 2013

Stoll Field/McLean Stadium
300px
Location Avenue of Champions
Lexington, KY 40506
Opened October 14, 1916
Closed November 1972
Owner University of Kentucky
Operator University of Kentucky
Former names Stoll Field (1916-23)
Tenants Kentucky Wildcats football (1916-1972)
Wildcat Marching Band
Capacity 37,000 (1972)

Stoll Field/McLean Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. It was the home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats football team. The field has been in use since 1880, but the concrete stands were opened in October 1916, and closed following the 1972 season, and was replaced by Commonwealth Stadium. Memorial Coliseum is located across the street from the site.

It is the site of the first football game played in the South. A historic marker was erected in 2008 and reads -

Side 1 - "STOLL FIELD: In 1880 the first college football game ever played in the South was held here at what was eventually named Stoll Field. It was dedicated in 1916 at the Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt game and was named in honor of alumnus and long-term Board of Trustees member Judge Richard C. Stoll. The field was the setting of early football games and an integral part of student life.

Side 2 - MCLEAN STADIUM This field, which once pastured President Patterson’s cows, was used for military training during World War I and in 1924 it held McLean Stadium. It was named for Price McLean, an engineering student who was fatally injured in a football game in 1923. McLean Stadium was the site of Kentucky football games until they were moved to Commonwealth Stadium in 1973.

McLean Stadium was the site of the first football game of the newly formed Southeastern Conference (SEC) on September 30, 1933, in which Kentucky defeated Sewanee 7−0.[1]

The stadium was a two-sided concrete structure, with bleachers in both endzones. It was named for Judge Richard C. Stoll, a prominent alumnus. In November 1924, the grandstands were renamed McLean Stadium in honor of Price Innes McLean, a former center for the Wildcats who had died from injuries sustained in the 1923 Kentucky-Cincinnati game.

The stadium was the home of the Wildcats during the Bear Bryant era (1946–1953), which included the team's first bowl appearance (in the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl), and the first SEC football championship (in 1950). Bryant's coaching tenure at the predominantly basketball-savvy school is regarded as the best era in UK's football history, as they only have had one SEC championship (1976) and 11 bowl appearances (following the 1976, 1983, 1984, 1993, 1998, 1999, and 2006 through 2010 seasons). (Indeed, the 1977 season — a season in which they were ineligible for the conference championship and postseason play due to probation — was the only other season in which the team ever posted ten wins, and the Wildcats had never won three consecutive bowl games until 2008.)

The stadium's downfall was due to its age and low seating capacity by SEC standards. Bryant, by now head coach at Alabama, refused to schedule Kentucky until a new, larger capacity stadium was built. As a result, Alabama did not play Kentucky for 25 years. The location of McLean Stadium, bound by Rose Street, Euclid Avenue (now Avenue of Champions), Lexington Avenue and Patterson Drive, did not have any room for expansion. Therefore, the school decided to build Commonwealth Stadium, located on a former farming center on campus. The last game played at the stadium was on November 11, 1972, with the Wildcats beating Vanderbilt 14-13. The stadium was razed during the 1970s, the south end being replaced with the Singletary Center for the Arts. A field was installed in the north end, perpendicular to the old end zone, and is named Stoll Field. It is still the practice field for the UK marching band, and is also used for intramural activities.

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